Not as easy as it looks! The making of viral video “Mario Jumps into Battle”

Just under a week ago, a fan-made video featuring Nintendo’s Super Mario appeared online. Titled “Smash Bros. Mario Jumps Into Battle”, it showed the portly plumber doing a bit of shopping in a real-life Tokyo store before realising that he was late for his appointment in Nintendo’s upcoming brawler, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, and dashing across the capital city.

Due to its incredible animation and clever blending of real and computer-generated images, the video was quickly picked up by a number of gaming news sites (and shared on our own Facebook page) and scored thousands of hits in the blink of an eye. But even short videos like this don’t just pop out of question-mark blocks; they take weeks of hard work…

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Amazing aquatic artwork transforms water into sky, aquariums into fantasy realms

Compared to cats and dogs, fish do have a couple of undeniable drawback as pets. You can’t really play fetch with them or take them on walks, and while there’s nothing physically stopping you from holding a goldfish on your lap and petting it, the sight of it desperately flopping around makes it far less relaxing than petting a purring kitty.

That’s not to say fish don’t have anything going for them. For example, they’re far less likely to pee on the sofa or cough up a hairball than a dog or cat. Plus, since they live in the confined space of a tank of water, you can create amazing scenery for them, like these amazing artistic aquariums.

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A sperm donation from your father-in-law? Maternity clinic in Nagano sparks debate

When a couple is ready to have children but there is an infertility issue with the father-to-be that prevents normal conception, in this day and age they have a number of options to consider. Artificial insemination from an anonymous donor is one route to take, as is as adoption. Or here’s another approach–if you’re the mother, how about getting pregnant through in vitro fertilization with a sperm donation from your husband’s father? 

For this article, we’ll be taking a slightly more serious tone than usual as we explore that very issue and the current controversy surrounding it. It’s become the topic of intense debate in Japan over the past few days after new details about the practice emerged from a maternity clinic in Nagano Prefecture. Join us as we introduce the facts and examine some of the ethics involved through reader opinions.

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Dozens of Pikachus make landfall in Yokohama, begin expanding their territory throughout the city

It’s been about a week since we first saw the commercial for the Pikachu Tairyou Hassei Chu (“An Outbreak of Pikachus”) Pokémon event going on this month in Yokohama. And while fans are no doubt looking forward to the projection mapping show and Pikachu Café, the real draw is the promised 1,000 Pikachu that will be on hand to greet visitors to the city’s Minato Mirai bayside district.

While we’re still a few days away from the official start of the festivities, the loveable pocket monsters have already started showing up, as shown in these surreally cute photos of the assembled Pokémon hospitality corps.

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You can now get physical with your virtual girlfriend thanks to Oculus Rift and a dubious pillow

Are you starting to feel that your virtual girlfriend just isn’t real enough? Craving the feel of her soft skin against your own? With the technological leaps being made in the field of virtual reality gaming headsets, otaku are being offered the chance to get closer to their digital darlings than ever before. But can they handle it?!

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Little girl sings her heart out while selling rice cakes, leaves us blown away 【UPDATED】

As someone whose singing voice sounds like a baboon trying to speak English, I am always amazed by people who can just belt out a solo without even a piano to back them up. But I’m doubly impressed when that person is a little kid selling rice cakes on the side of the road!

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A six-year-old smashed the previous limbo skating record, in case you wanted to know

Who would have thought the world of limbo skating would be so competitive? Also, who would have thought limbo skating was a thing that exists?

Limbo skating is the sport of using old-school roller skates – we presume there’s some kind of rule about them having to be in pastel colors – to project yourself across the ground while staying as low as possible. Sometimes, limbo skaters can squish their bodies down to about the same height as a Coke bottle while bending their ankles at seemingly impossible angles to keep the roller skate’s wheels on the pavement.

So, since we went ahead and told you that limbo skating is a thing, we might as well also tell you that a 6-year-old just broke the previous limbo skating world record by limbo skating under 39 cars like it was nothing.

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It’s time for lazy calisthenics! Half-hearted exercises for those with blood type B 【Video】

As you may already have heard, blood type is kind of a big deal here in Japan. As well as being asked about your age, hobbies and family, it’s not in the least bit unusual to be probed about your blood type during welcome parties, dates or mixers. This isn’t because any of the attendees are sick and hoping to leech your life-giving fluid, but because there is a set of commonly held beliefs that blood type determines personality, and knowing whether someone is blood type A, B, AB or O can act as a shortcut to getting to know them. Or at least that’s the theory.

Today, we bring you a morning exercise routine devised especially for those who are blood type B. In case you hadn’t already guessed from the above GIF, the moves you’ll be performing here are made for those people who give up on things quickly, absolutely hate being told what to do and who aren’t afraid to show it.

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Ganbare Goemon manga artist Hiroshi Obi passes away

The wife of Ganbare Goemon manga artist Hiroshi Obi posted on his Twitter account on Sunday that he passed away on Sunday at 7:40 a.m. after being taken to the hospital on Saturday evening with a brain stem hemorrhage. He was 54.

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No Miyazaki, no magic? Studio Ghibli co-founder considering closing production division

Just a few weeks ago, When Marnie Was There, the newest anime movie from Studio Ghibli, hit Japanese theatres. Marnie is actually the second Ghibli release since legendary director Hayao Miyazaki retired from the company, but the first with a general, mainstream target market, as 2013’s The Tale of Princess Kaguya was a much more experimental, avant-garde film in visual style and tone.

Just as Miyazaki has stepped away from feature films, Ghibli producer and co-founder Toshio Suzuki is easing into retirement, and so many anime fans have been watching Marnie while looking for clues as to where Ghibli’s films would be going from here. Judging from statements made by Suzuki, though, the better question isn’t what kind of movies Ghibli will be making in the future, but whether the studio will be making any at all, as he feels that maybe it’s time for the Ghibli production team to close up shop.

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Internet wishes Attack on Titan’s Reiner a happy birthday, things get just a little weird

While some may dread their birthdays, we like to think everyone deserves the chance to have their existence celebrated. Heck, even if you’re not a real person, you still deserve to have a happy birthday, right? Especially if you’re a shape-shifting titan!

That’s right, in case you missed it, August 1 was none other than Reiner Braun’s birthday! And considering how popular Attack on Titan is, it’s no surprise that adoring fans pulled out all the stop to celebrate. Though we have to admit, we think they probably could have left a few stops in place…

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【Monday Kickstart】Fluffy kitty just wants a lie in

Good morning RocketNews24 readers! It’s time for another Monday Kickstart featuring an adorably fluffy kitty named Foo, who understands not wanting to get up in the mornings, or at any time really.

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Step into a different dimension in this breathtaking life-sized kaleidoscope

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk into a human-sized kaleidoscope? If the thought has crossed your mind but there is nothing of the sort to be found in your neighborhood, you can now live vicariously through the following photographs.

Introducing Wink Space, a work of art made by a pair of Japanese designers at an arts festival last year. Wait till you see its exquisite design–it’s absolutely spellbinding!

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Creepy creatures from the seabed that you can eat!【Taste Test】

Although Japanese food is known the world over and Japanese restaurants can be found in almost any major city these days, many people may not be aware of a few of the finer Japanese delicacies–such as the creepy creatures from the bottom of the sea–that you can eat.

When you think of the seabed, if you think of a place that is dark, murky, and full of scary creatures such as giant squid and sea monsters, then perfect! Because today we’re going to meet some of those guys’ roommates.

Join our not-so-intrepid island reporter who prefers to pass when it comes to dining on the low-life relegated to the muck on the seabed. She skips out on the taste tests and instead grabs an unsuspecting foreign visitor to try out some of Japan’s more esoteric treats.

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And the most popular video game developer in Japan is…

Whether you’re an avid gamer with over 100 titles in your library or you prefer to buy only new installments of your favorite series, chances are you have a favorite video game developer or two in mind. In an attempt to draw out the most popular names, one recent internet poll asked 500 Japanese men and women to share their opinions about their favorite game developers.

Can you guess the top three in the correct order? 

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No water, no cooking oil, no yogurt: The new strict bus rules in Urumqi, China

With an ever-expanding list of banned items and never-ending security lines filled with personnel and machines bent on examining every inch of your body, air travel seems destined to eventually become one giant cavity search. And while you think you are safe from this kind of annoyance when you are on ground-based transportation systems, the Chinese city of Urumqi recently proved that they can make traveling by bus just as terrible when they banned liquids onboard. To enforce this already hated ban, local authorities have assigned at least two security guards at every bus stations along the more than 100 bus routes in the city.

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In the mood for a little meat? We try “manga meat” chicken from Family Mart!【Taste Test】

One of the manga/anime items that has long caught the fancy of the Japanese public is, interestingly, a kind of meat that has come to be known as “manga meat” (manga niku), or sometimes also as “primeval meat” (genshi niku). From the mammoth meat that appeared in the 1970’s anime First Human Giatrus (yes, the story was set in the stone age and it was supposed to be actual mammoth meat!) to meats appearing in more recent anime such as Dragon Ball and One Piece,  the image of the manga niku has captivated us, making us fantasize about taking a chewy bite of the fictional fare.

Well, Japanese convenience chain Mini Stop is currently offering a product that to a certain degree lets you fulfill that fantasy. It’s the Hammer Chicken Primeval-style Meat with Bone  (Hone-tsuki Genshi Niku fu Hammer Chicken) which went on sale just this week, and as you might expect, we hurried over to a Mini Stop to get a taste.

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Hello Kitty and Chicken Ramen figures can talk, tell fortunes, and even play a game with you

Tasty as it may be, instant ramen isn’t usually the sort of thing you eat at social gatherings. More often than not, you’ll find yourself reaching for a cup of noodles when you have no one to eat dinner with, and speed and convenience are what you’re really after.

Still, it can feel a little lonely sitting quietly at your kitchen table as you wait for the boiling water you just poured into the cup to do its thing. If only there was someone you could talk to, who’d also remind you when the three minutes were up.

Now there is, with a talking timer shaped like the beloved Chicken Ramen mascot, who’ll not only keep you company, but even play games with you, too.

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What’s that emoji? Let’s take a look at Japanese culture with these texting emoticons!【Part 2】

In Part 1 of this article, we learned some fun facts about three iconic foods so beloved by the Japanese that they, yup, became icons—how an old lady and a samurai gave birth to the first rice cracker; what it means to be called a pudding-head in Japan; and how a classic 1960s manga cemented the way oden would be illustrated for decades to come.

So get ready for Part 2, in which I’ll attempt to sift through millennia of history and get you further acquainted with three more emoticons!

First we’ll look at the mythical tengu, a complex, multifaceted creature that in modern times pops up in things like Digimon and the Mega Man series. Then we’ll check out a New Year’s decoration that may have originated from taketaba, a shield made from bundled bamboo that became necessary once firearms were introduced. To close, we’ll explore the customs and lore surrounding the Tanabata festival, including the romantic legend of Orihime and Hikoboshi, who are both star-crossed lovers and actual stars in the sky.

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Singapore’s Home for Hope Campaign finds homes for shelter dogs…at IKEA!

After reading this, you’ll have even more reason to love IKEA.

Since May, IKEA and other home goods stores in Singapore have been partnering up with local animal rescue groups to raise awareness about dog adoption. To achieve this goal, IKEA has placed photo cutouts of actual shelter dogs within the sample rooms along with information about the process of adoption. The effort has proved incredibly rewarding so far, with many homeless dogs finding themselves a loving family and a brand new life. 

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